A wee story that came back to mind yesterday, it involves former News of the World Editor and chief advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron Andy Coulson, and, to this day is the funniest thing I ever heard in a court
Anyways, Mr Coulson was on trial at the Old Bailey for conspiracy to illegally intercept communications (phone hacking) and spent two days in the withess box being cross-examined
To almost every question his response was "I don't remember," or for variety "I don't recall.' He kept telling the court that he was a busy man, he couldn't be expected to remember if he had read this email or that email, he just couldn't recollect.
At one point, the prosecution counsel, Andrew Ellis QC even asked, in frustration, if Mr Coulson was suffering from some sort of illness that affected his memory, but the defendant remained firm, he simply couldn't assist the court because he had no memory of the events.
After he had given his "evidence" Mr Coulson's lawyers then called a character witness, a doctor of some sort who told the court that "Andy" was a great guy, children loved him, he did lots of work for charity, but didn't like to talk about it, the usual stuff.
But the the doctor added, "and he also has an amazing memory,"
You could have heard a pin drop in court, and the defence barrister suddenly went, "no further questions," and sat down.
Edis, for the prosecution then stood up and said the to presiding Judge, Mr Justice Saunders, that while it was normal practice not to cross-examine a character witness, in this case he thought it might be of assistance to the court if he clarified a matter, the judge said yes.
So Mr Edis asked the witness if he could expand on his comment that Mr Coulson had an "amazing memory"?
The doctor replied, "It's amazing, he never forgets anything, you can have a conversation with him 5 years ago and he still remembers it word for word, he has a mind like a steel trap."
At that point the whole court fell about laughing, the judge, the jury, us the public gallery, the poor doctor didn't know what was going on, Coulson just sat in the dock with his head in his hands, his whole defence blown away by his own witness."
He was later, unsurprisingly, sentenced to 18 months
(In a fun little proscript, Mr Coulson later stood trial court in Edinburgh for perjury for denying he knew anything about phone hacking at the perjury trial of Tommy Sheridan in 2010.
The very first motion his Advocate made was to ban me from the court as I was not a "responsible journalist "
I still think that was because I reported the "mind like a steel trap," thing in real time.
The judge said no and we got to live tweet the first full Scottish criminal case in history.
And that's why I love court reporting, it's often dull, and sometimes tragic, but occasionally it has those little moments that make it all worthwhile.
Which, if you are interested, is summarised here.


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More from @jamesdoleman

23 Sep
Afternoon proceedings begin at the Julian #Assange hearing in London.
Prosecution calls Seena Fazel
Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.
Fazel focuses on the relationship between mental illness and violent crime, the mental health of prisoners, and violence risk assessment. He is also a specialist in prison suicide.
Read 24 tweets
23 Sep
Back at the Old Bailey for day 11 of evidence in the Julian Assange extradition case
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Judge Vanessa Baraitser enters and proceedings commence
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22 Sep
Full report of this morning's evidence at the Julian Assange extradition hearing in London
Lewis puts it to the witness he didn't mention the name of Julian Assange's' partner his report.
He says "she had concerns about confidentiality."
"I do not accept that, you have a duty to the court," Lewis replies.
"I was trying to be diplomatic and respectful"
Kopelman adds that between his first and second reports her name became public and it is in the second report.
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22 Sep
One note on the Julian #Assange case today, as we expect mostly medical evidence today there will be things i will choose not to post.
So if I go quiet it's not that I'm not here.
Judge Vanessa Baraitser enters and proceedings begin.
First witness, Professor Michael Copeland, he is a professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London.
Read 35 tweets
21 Sep
I did a phone hacking trial anacdote last week that was quite popular, a colleague who was also there reminded me of another one today, the tale of the office cat.
Anyways, quite early on in the case, a witness, Dan Evans said phone hacking at the News of the World was so widespread, "even the office cat knew about it."
It sort of became a comforting kind of meme in the 8 month trial, every witness would be asked about the office cat, and it sort of became real to us.
Read 10 tweets
21 Sep
Breaking: Arthur Schwartz, a close advisor to Donald #Trump junior has been recorded by a journalist saying he had helped have Julian Assange removed from the ecuadorian embassy, "on the orders of the President," Assange's extradition hearing has heard.
The claim came from Cassandra Fairbanks, a Trump supporter, in a sworn statement read out at London's Central Criminal Court
She also states that Schwarz had told her about #Assange "A pardon isn't going to f*cking happen," and that "Assange should be killed and everyone involved with WikiLeaks should be executed.
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